and the 2020 Raymond Souster award goes to…
Unmeaningable by Roxanna Bennett (Gordon Hill Press)
From the jurors: Where and how is meaning made in a body that interferes with its own lines of communication? Roxanna Bennett’s Unmeaningable is a powerful example of embodied cognition. Crafted with rigorous precision, Bennett’s poems bore into a linguistic system that assumes an able-bodied subjectivity. Yet she writes through limitation to reveal the mot juste at every turn. To be sure, the poems transmute physical and psychic agony with deep compassion and incisive accuracy. From the very first line, meaning is enabled as Bennett maps a poetic reckoning.
From the publisher: Unmeaningable welcomes you to the freak show, where the monster on display is a culture that stigmatizes sickness and a system that shames the sufferer. Behold the wonder of the ages, a human mind in a human body, dissected and displayed for entertainment. Witness the ritual of surgical sacrifice! Observe the indignity of institutionalization! Be astounded by the indifference of ableism and ignorance! This uncanny collection of “crippled” sonnets features a thrilling display of cannibals, chimeras, and the crucial question: What meaning can be made of a life lived in pain and isolation?
Thank you to the 2020 Raymond Souster Award jurors: Jim Johnstone, Suzanne Zelazo, Randy Lundy
Read an exclusive interview discussing poetry, process and pandemic with Roxanna Bennett.
The Raymond Souster Award is given for a book of poetry by a League of Canadian Poets member. The award honours Raymond Souster, an early founder of the League of Canadian Poets. The award carries a $2,000 prize and it is presented each year at the LCP Annual Conference.